We are well-positioned to finance Warisan Merdeka - PNB

KUALA LUMPUR: Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB), which will be developing the RM5 billion Warisan Merdeka landmark, says it is
well-positioned to finance the integrated development project from its own internallygenerated funds.

"However, we can look for loans from the market as long as we can maximise our returns," its President and Group Chief Executive Tan Sri Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman told a media briefing here on Wednesday Oct 20.

He also dismissed speculation that the project would be funded by the government or sourced from its unit trust funds.
PNB, an investment holding company, currently manages funds worth more than RM140 billion. It has substantial interest in over 300 listed and unlisted companies.

Plans for the project, comprising three phases to be fully completed  by 2020, were unveiled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak during last week’s budget speech.

The integrated development project located within the enclave of Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara, will comprise a 100-storey tower, with construction to start next year. It is expected to be completed in 2015.

Hamad Kama said the project to be undertaken by its 100 per cent owned company, PNB Merdeka Ventures, was part of PNB's plan to shift its assets class and diversify its portfolio. Over the years, he said PNB has been investing in equity and "now we are focussing on property. In fact we have bought many properties among others including Kenanga and MAS buildings, as well as Perdana Hotel.

"We bought all those buildings because we believed that we want to make sure that our asset class would be reallocated a bit.
"In terms of risk we want to reduce risk but as the same time returns also must be reasonable. So that's why this (the project) is one of the things that we are doing now," he said.

Hamad Kama said PNB, which bought the land in 2000 from Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Bhd, had planned for the project since 2004. It was discussed by the board who had decided to embark on the project even then. Ultimately, he said PNB decided on the 100-storey building as "we believe this is a good strategic position."

Excluding the stadiums, Hamad Kama said PNB has 7.6 hectares for the green concept project comprising office blocks, shopping complex, hotels, apartments, and condominiums. It will be a project blending heritage and commerce, he said.

He also reasserted that as an investment house, PNB has to make sure that the risks for developing the project are taken care of while the returns are there.

Hamad Kama said the tower block upon completion would create economic activities and provide job opportunities.The construction of the tower would also be timely as by 2016, PNB's current building at Jalan Tun Razak would be 30-years old and would need refurbishment. "There is no need to worry about capacity," he said.

"When we plan, we also plan to ensure there will be occupants. PNB and its group of companies need a headoffice and to also expand," he added. - Bernama

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